Natural Care and Healing For Your Dogs & Cats

Separation Anxiety - Another View

Reprinted with permission from the June 1999 issue of Dr. Bob and Susan 
Goldsteins’ Love of Animals newsletter, 606 Post Rd. East, Westport, CT 
06880; for subscription information, call 800/211-6365

     Our friend and colleague Sharon Callahan, who develops flower essences at the foot of Mount Shasta, California, and is world-renowned as an animal communicator, sees a great deal of separation anxiety in her communication sessions with animals. What she has learned has given her a more philosophical, global approach to the issue than any we've heard. We are very moved by her approach, and think you will be, too. We believe that her insights will help you see your animal friends with new eyes and will make the idea of drugs unthinkable. It happened for us.

     "As an animal communicator, I find animals to be uniquely different, so even the term 'separation anxiety' bothers me-it's throwing everybody into the same bag. If I took from my files six different animals who were reported to me as having separation anxiety, they would each have very different stories to tell.

     "I think that animals in general, any kind of animal, is born with a kind of separation anxiety. Historically we have treated animals so badly that the fear associated with separation is more inclusive than separation from their person or their caretaker. Their babies are often taken away soon after they are born, then there is the whole issue of people not taking responsibility for animals and shuffling them around from one home to an other. Over many generations of animals, it sets a pattern that is carried like a memory in the cells of the body.

     "Because animals are so much more firmly linked to their group or collective souls than human beings are, they can more easily get swept away by waves of fear that arise out of the collective consciousness of their species. This happens to people, too, but we have ways to distract ourselves, like reading a book or going to a movie. An animal can't do that, so instead they develop a lick granuloma or begin chewing on furniture. And with every animal you have to consider their personal fears as well.

     "I find that animals with any kind of anxiety disorder often belong to people with anxiety-so that the animal becomes a mirror of the anxiety of the person. In such instances, we often don't see positive results until we treat the anxiety in the person as well as the animal. It always pays to look at the situation holistically-what is there in your life that is anxiety-producing?-and take steps to correct it.

     "The situation with separation anxiety is often not what it seems to be. Animals who suddenly develop it, who haven't been that way before, are often trying to tell their people something. Sometimes if the animal is simply allowed to say or tell what it's concerned about, it goes away without needing any treatment at all.

     "With certain animals, using drugs only intensifies their anxiety. Though you wouldn't notice right away, it just dopes them out, but animals have an instinctive need to have all of their senses at full capacity. So when you dull their senses with drugs, it only increases their underlying anxiety, and when you stop the drug, if the underlying reason for the anxiety is not addressed, they will be worse than ever before."

     "Our animals as well as all other beings and events in our lives are there to show us something about ourselves that we need to know or to learn. If we simply cover up the problem by dulling our senses through the use of drugs - either by taking them ourselves or giving them to our animals - we will miss the gift inherent in the situation. With every challenging situation comes a gift, an opportunity for ourselves and our animals to grow and expand our awareness and come to a greater understanding of ourselves and all that surrounds us."

     While Sharon often prescribes custom-formulated flower essence formulas for dogs and cats with anxiety, and supports other modalities such as calming herbs, homeopathy and aromatherapy, she says that solving the problem is often as simple as giving your dog a job to do every day when you are away. It might be walking from room to room and checking that everything is okay.

     "Dogs love to have a job. They are saddest if they feel they have lost their job. If you ask them to do a certain job they will do it. If you simply talk to the animal, it will understand and respond. Set a certain time each day, and let your animal know that at that time you will communicate the most important things you want them to know. They will stop tuning you out and get used to paying closer attention."

     Robert S. Goldstein, VMD, medical editor of Love of Animals, has been a holistic veterinarian for more than 20 years, using a combination of nutritional, herbal, homeopathic and chiropractic treatments. Dr. Goldstein pioneered an immune-enhancement therapy in the treatment of animals and is an expert in natural treatment and prevention of disease in household pets. Dr. Goldstein holds a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Goldstein is available for private consultation. For more information, call 203/222-0260.